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LU Claims Fourth-Straight Big South Title

November 20, 2010  Lynchburg, Va.  RSS
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Mike Brown celebrates one of his two rushing touchdowns, which was all part of his school-record 494 total offensive yard outing in a victory over Stony Brook.

Mike Brown celebrates one of his two rushing touchdowns, which was all part of his school-record 494 total offensive yard outing in a victory over Stony Brook.

A 50-yard field goal by Matt Bevins midway through the third quarter started a 27-point run by No. 21/18 Liberty en route to a 54-28 victory over Stony Brook, Saturday afternoon, at Williams Stadium.

The victory helped Liberty claim a share of the Big South Conference football title, the program's fourth-straight league championship.

Liberty (8-3), Stony Brook (6-5) and Coastal Carolina (6-5) all finish the 2010 regular season with a 5-1 conference record. The Chanticleers claim the league's automatic bid to the NCAA FCS Playoffs by virtue of fewest defensive points allowed in Big South games.

Liberty's senior class closes out its regular-season career with a 34-11 record, the best four-year run in program history. The Flames finish the 2010 regular season with an 8-3 record, marking the fourth year in a row Liberty has won eight or more games.

It took the two teams a few drives to feel each other out, as Liberty first cracked the scoreboard on a 26-yard field goal by Bevins with 5:39 left in the first quarter.

The visitors quickly answered back, thanks to an 85-yard kickoff return by Brock Jackolski and a 13-yard touchdown pass from Michael Coulter to Michael Lepore just 41 seconds later.

The Flames countered with a quick strike of their own, as a 40-yard pass from Mike Brown to Kyle DeArmon got the Flames into the red zone. Two plays later, SirChauncey Holloway broke free for a 14-yard touchdown burst to put the Flames back on top, 10-7, with 1:29 left in the first quarter.

The Flames widened their lead on their first drive of the second quarter thanks to a short field. Liberty took over possession at Stony Brook's 30-yard line following a short 21-yard punt by Drew Evangelista. Two plays later, Brown tucked the ball under his arm and found a hole on the left side of the line to score from 15 yards out, pushing Liberty's lead to 10, 17-7.

Both teams dented the scoreboard during the last 12 minutes of the opening half, starting with a Stony Brook touchdown with just over eight minutes left in the second quarter.

The two teams traded turnovers, as Danny Broggin intercepted a Coulter pass, followed directly by a Jawara Dudley interception on Tyler Brennan's pass over the middle.

The Seawolves decided to keep the ball on the ground for four of the next five plays, including a 12-yard run by Miguel Maysonet over left guard to pull the visitors within three points, 17-14, at 8:32.

Liberty took advantage of one last possession in the opening first half, as they quickly moved the ball downfield on the strength of Brown.

The junior completed all three passing attempts for 35 yards and made two rushes for 26 yards, getting the Flames down to the two-yard line. However, Stony Brook was able to come up with a strong defensive stand, forcing the Flames to settle for a 25-yard Bevins field goal to give Liberty a 20-14 lead going into the locker room at the break.

The Flames finished the opening half with nearly three times as many offensive yards as the Seawolves, as Liberty amassed 236 yards to Stony Brook's 79 yards.

Brown led the Flames' attack with 81 rushing yards on 14 carries, while completing 10-of-17 passes for 124 yards. Hayes was Brown's top target with five receptions for 32 yards.

Coulter completed 4-of-5 passing attempts for 54 yards and a score, while Jackolski (seven carries for 18 yards) and Maysonet (six carries for 17 yards) shared the workload on the ground for the Seawolves.

A back-and-forth battle ensued to open the third quarter, with the lead changing hands four times during an eight-minute span.

Stony Brook struck first when Coutler found Matt Brevi for a 50-yard strike just over two minutes into the second half to give Stony Brook a 21-20 lead.

Liberty countered with its own quick strike when Brown hit Kelly for a 65-yard play action touchdown pass just over two minutes later to give Liberty a 27-21 edge.

The big plays kept rolling, as Jackolski broke free with a 39-yard kickoff return followed by a 51-yard pass to Brett Arce down to the one-yard line. Maysonet took the next handoff and scored on the one-yard dive, pushing Stony Brook back in front, 28-27, just 30 seconds later.

The Flames tried to keep pace with a deep pass downfield from Brown to Tommy Shaver, but the tight end found the ball just outside of his reach. The unsuccessful long pass forced the Flames to settle for a 50-yard field goal by Bevins to put the Flames back in the lead, 30-28, with 8:24 left to play in the third quarter.

During the remaining 23-plus minutes of the contest, the Flames defense buckled down and kept the visitors in check. Stony Brook picked up two first downs during the remainder of the game and just 47 total offensive yards.

Following a three-and-out series, a 79-yard touchdown pass from Brown to Kelly set the tone for the remainder of the game that allowed Liberty to score the closing 27 points of the contest.

After the 79-yard touchdown score from Kelly, Liberty tacked on three more scores, starting with a one-yard touchdown run by Brown with 13:13 left to play in the ball game.

Following a 42-yard field goal by Bevins at 5:39, his fourth of the game, Coulter had his very next pass intercepted by Doncel Bolt and returned 46 yards for a score to seal the 54-28 win by the Flames to close out their championship drive.

For the fifth time this season, Liberty surpassed the 500 total offensive yard mark in a game, as the Flames racked up 558 yards on 78 plays. Liberty, who came into the afternoon ranked No. 5 nationally in total offense, ended the day by averaging 7.2 yards per play.

For the fourth time in Big South play, Liberty held a conference foe below 300 total offensive yards, as Stony Brook finished the day with 264 yards on 47 plays (5.6 average).

The Seawolves, who boasted of a pair of 1,000-yard rushers and the No. 9 ranked rushing attack in the country, were held to just 49 yards on the ground on 25 rushing attempts.

Brown set a new program and Big South record on the day, as the junior finished with 494 of Liberty's 558 total offensive yards. Brown carried the ball 30 times for 160 yards and two scores, while completing 20-of-31 passing attempts for 334 yards and two touchdown passes.

His 160 yards on the ground was a new career high, while his 334 passing yards fell just four yards short of his 338-yard effort to open the season against St. Francis, Pa.

Kelly also set program and Big South records on the day, as the wide out finished the afternoon with 10 catches for 235 yards and two scores.

The previous single-game program record was Brown's 198 yards against Gardner-Webb, last year, while Kelly's afternoon surpassed Gardner-Webb's Duvaughn Flagler who finished with 210 yards against Wofford on Nov. 19, 2005.

For the fourth time in his career, Bevins finished a game with four field goals, including the last three final regular-season home games (also against Elon in 2008 and VMI in 2009). The junior finished the day with 18 points, surpassing his previous career high of 16 and setting a new program and Big South record along the way.

Maysonet and Jackolski, who were averaging a combined 209 rushing yards per game, finished the afternoon with 33 and 26 yards, respectively. Maysonet scored both of Stony Brook's rushing touchdowns.
Coulter was 12-of-22 for 215 yards, with two touchdown passes and two interceptions. His top target on the day was Brevi, who finished with four receptions for 82 yards, and Jordan Gush, who caught three passes for 48 yards.

Kyle O'Donnell and Asa Chapman finished as Liberty's top defensive stoppers. O'Donnell finished with six tackles, including two sacks and a forced fumble, to lead the team in tackles for the seventh time in the last nine games.

Chapman, who anchored Liberty's defensive line that stopped Stony Brook's potent rushing attack, also finished with six stops, including his second sack of the year.

Stony Brook's top tacklers were Craig Richardson, who posted 12 tackles and a pass break-up, and Arin West, who finished with 11 tackles, including eight solo stops.

The Flames once again find themselves in the position of waiting upon the decision of the NCAA FCS Playoff selection committee, who will be picking this year's 20-team postseason field. The committee will make the decision known publically tomorrow at 10 a.m. on ESPNU, when they announce this year's NCAA FCS Playoff field, with opening-round games slated to begin next weekend at four home sites around the country.